Two separate illustrations of an animal head and a fire on a mountain

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

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What are two significant quotes from chapters 9-12 of Lord of the Flies?

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In chapter 10, Jack holds a feast, which Ralph, Piggy, and Samneric attend. While they are eating, Jack attempts to display his authority by asking all the boys if they will join his tribe. When Ralph challenges Jack by bringing up the fact that he was elected their chief, Jack responds by saying that he provides food for the boys and protects them. Ralph then asks about the fire and mentions that he still has the conch. Jack responds by saying,

"You left it behind. See, clever? And the conch doesn't count at this end of the island—" (117)

Jack's response is significant because it reveals that civility does not reign on his side of the island. Jack and his savages are free to behave like barbarians. At this point in the novel, the idea of creating a civil society is completely lost, and savagery reigns. The conch, which represents civilization, democracy, and structure, has been abandoned and does not impact Jack's behavior or his decisions. 

In the last chapter of the novel, Jack and his savages hunt Ralph, who narrowly escapes by stumbling onto a beach, where a British Naval officer is standing. Ralph and the boys chasing him come to a dramatic halt as the officer begins questioning them about their time on the island. After Ralph tells the officer that two boys were killed, the officer says,

"I should have thought that a pack of British boys—you're all British, aren't you?—would have been able to put up a better show than that—I mean—" (157)

The officer's statement is significant because it portrays his hypocritical nature and lack of perspective concerning humanity's inherent wickedness. Golding's use of irony is illustrated when the British officer participating in a world war questions the civility of the boys. The British Naval officer's remarks also mimic Jack's earlier comments about being proud English boys in chapter 2. Golding's message is clear: regardless of class, race, or national identity, humans are all inherently wicked. 

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From chapter 9, Jack asks the boys who will join his tribe: "I gave you food," said Jack, "and my hunters will protect you from the beast...".  The importance of this quote is that Jack is telling the boys what they want to hear.  He goes on to add, "Who'll join my tribe and have fun?"  Jack is the politician and by using those tactics of persuasion and appeal to what the boys want, he is successful in his attempt to take over as a dictatorial leader.  He promises the boys food, protection, and fun.  To the young boys on this island, these three things are what they want, or at least, what they think they want.  The quote shows a great deal about Jack's personality and how he came to be the dictator.

Another important quote is from chapter 11, when Piggy is trying to appeal to logic and reason when he says: "Which is better - to be a pack of painted Indians like you are, or to be sensible like Ralph is?"  The answer to that question, put to Jack and his tribe, is that they'd rather be savage because that was their base desire.  Golding is pointing out, in this book, that mankind is basically savage.  This quote takes place right before Roger drops the boulder onto Piggy, smashing and killing him.  That action was the answer to the question, proving Golding's point.  The killing of Piggy was the end of all sense and reason on the island.

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